Now that I’ve been able to post about how depressing this week was for me without sending myself into a spiral of tears, snot, and hiccups, I should counter it with a reminder of the happy things that happened:
I got strange birthday presents, in the form of underpants and patchouli, but I also got wonderful birthday presents. My fellow students and friends in the department, who all bear the brunt of my crankiness on a daily basis, all pitched in and gave me a weekend in Scotland. In none of the alternate universes where my electrons exist do I in any way deserve such a lovely, thoughtful gift. Honestly, the thought of having to drop out of this program depresses me mostly because I feel I’d lose my friends and family there, and it’s a horrible, horrible thought. I love you guys.
My project not sucking
My supervisor – pretty much the smartest person I’ve ever met – thinks my project is a cool idea. Unique even. Innovative. I don’t know if she realizes that tossing these words out to a fiction writer is like sprinkling crack on chocolate birthday cake, but I love her for saying them anyway.
Other folks in positions of respect think it’s pretty okay, too: I may be heading down to Cambridge this summer with my fellow NIECI/SCSMatics to talk at a symposium about alternative publishing.
And my idea for an abstract for a big ol’ Creative Writing conference earned me a presentation spot just for mentioning it. Not too shabby.
I’ve been really lucky – I made a few horsey contacts, made some really great friends, and now I have a 5-year-old to ride and train as I see fit, at no expense to myself. The 2 hours I spent at the barn this week were the only stress-free hours I had. I probably would have suffered a hospital-worthy migraine if not for my bumpy-headed Starsky.
Students (I can’t believe I just wrote that)
I teach a Poetry and Performance class on Friday mornings. When I walk into the classroom at 9 am every week, 4-8 pairs of bleary eyes stare up at me, when they can lift their hungover heads from the tables.
I got very little direction from the department in how to teach this course (read: none), so I decided I would do whatever the hell I felt like. It’s a bizarre class, and I think my students are frightened for 80% of it, but it amuses me endlessly.
This week their assignment was to write an original song and perform it for the class (they could set it to some other music if that’s not their forte). They were jaw-droppingly amazing. I had a rockin’ folk song, a ballad accompanied by a harp (a harp!), a bluesy journey tale worthy of Johnny Cash, and a haunting Celtic melody. They all had gorgeous voices, some had incredible musical talent, and all of the songs were about 20 times better than ANYTHING iTunes keeps suggesting to me.
I nearly cried. It was an awesome hour, and I don’t think I’ll be able to give an assignment to top it for the rest of the semester. Maybe ever.
My Director of Postgraduates
I can’t really say why he’s on my brownie-points list this week without botching the opportunity I’m hoping for, but he gave me a ray of shiny. He didn’t tell me I was an idiot, he got miffed on my behalf, and he supported my efforts to make the best of an impossible situation.
I need to visit him in his hidey-hole office more often, I guess.
Last and sappiest of all,
Who suggested he could pay for my rent, my food, my entertainment, my travel expenses, AND my PhD. He can’t, and even if he could, I wouldn’t let him, but his unfailing support in everything that I do is, again, more than I deserve. I’m beginning to think I was Ghandi or something in a past life, and karma is most definitely real. The rest of my lives are probably going to go downhill from here.
Okay, that’s all the sunshine I can stand. I’m going to go rip my paper to shreds in an attempt to get ANY work done this term.